No Referendum, no Republic!

I listened to our Prime Minister give an interview on ABC Australia, part of which was carried on CBC-TV news on 17 Sep 2020.  In it, the Prime Minister explained that Barbadians will not be allowed a referendum, to decide on whether they support Barbados becoming a Republic.

Our Prime Minister must know that she cannot do that.  Our Attorney General, all the lawyers in the BLP and DLP, our Governor General, and all our judges should know that she cannot do that.  Yet, she noted that she will follow NIKE and “just do it”.

Our Prime Minister is not a dictator, so she must have a proverbial ‘Ace’ up her sleeve.  In the interview, she revealed it.  She justified her approach by explaining her belief that Barbadians elected her to do it.  Let me quote her.

“We certainly campaigned on it in the manifesto, that while we committed to referendum on other issues, we did not on this one, and we made it clear that this is where we believe the country must go.”

WAS IT CLEAR?

As the leader of the third largest political party in Barbados, and on behalf of the thousands of Barbadians who voted for Solutions Barbados in the last General Election, I had to investigate this claim.  Because either I was suffering from some sort of memory loss and had to resign, or our Prime Minister inadvertently misspoke.

I reread the BLP’s 2018 Manifesto.  There was no mention of any plan to make us a Republic.  On the matter of referenda, page 45 states:

“Introducing National Dialogues, National Referenda and consulting with Barbadians on major national issues, such as the decriminalisation of recreational marijuana.”

Is changing our system of government to a Republic, not more of a major national issue than decriminalising recreational marijuana?

I then read the BLP’s 2016 Covenant of Hope.  Again, there was no plan to make us a Republic.  On the mater of referenda, Page 22 states:

“We support the use of People’s Initiatives, as well as the mechanism of Referenda, to ensure that our citizens may influence the work of our Parliament and our Executive. This permits our people, and not only Parliamentarians, to have an appropriate role in decision-making on fundamental issues affecting the stability and cohesion of our nation. This must always follow an intensive public education programme.”

If fundamentally changing our system of government to a Republic, does not qualify as a fundamental issue affecting the stability and cohesion of our nation, then what does?

WHAT WENT WRONG?

So, where could our Prime Minister have gotten the idea, that a Republic plan was in their campaign manifesto?  I decided to investigate.  I read the BLP’s 2013 Manifesto, but there is no mention of a Republic plan.  So, I read the BLP’s 2008 Manifesto, and there it was, on page 77:

“Update the Constitution Review Commission recommendations on replacing the Crown with a Barbadian President and proceed to consult the public fully by way of a referendum”

Clearly the BLP’s stated intent was to measure the public’s support, of our politicians’ desire for a Barbadian Republic, by a national referendum.  So, what happened?’

One possible explanation is that a plan to make Barbados a republic without a national referendum, was in an early draft of the BLP’s 2018 Manifesto.  Since the BLP cannot force Barbados to become a republic, that plan was abandoned.  Whatever the explanation, the BLP does not have a mandate to make us a Republic.

Without a mandate from the people to make us a Republic, the BLP needs to go back to the drawing board.  To become a Republic, there must be support from both the Government and the Public – that is the only way.  The public’s support is normally measured by a national referendum.  No referendum, no republic.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-17/barbados-prime-minister-phil-williams-republic-mia-mottley/12675372?nw=0

First Out of the Blocks.

Our Prime Minister has announced that a new election is to be held in St George North.  As the Solutions Barbados declared Candidate for St George North, it seems that we are the first out of the blocks.

Solutions Barbados is the third largest political party in Barbados, by measure of votes cast in the last General Election.  We are also the second largest, by measure of declared candidates for the next general election.

This election will come at a time when we are still in a pandemic, an IMF austerity program, and a plan to turn Barbados into a Republic – without a national referendum.  Solutions Barbados believes that the public should be allowed to declare their support of, or opposition to being a Republic.  Such a fundamental change is not something that we should be forced into.

A FAIR THIRD PARTY TEST.

With a 30-0 result in the last general election, this election should be a fair test of the viability of third political parties in Barbados at this time.  However, it can only be a meaningful test if the media allows fair coverage of all political views.  Therefore, their role in this experiment is critical.

Solutions Barbados was founded on 1 July 2015.  Our manifesto was published on SolutionsBarbados.com that same day for rigorous public scrutiny.  Over the past five years, we have never told the media ‘no comment’.  We have always made ourselves available for any interview, and participated in any debate on any topic.

For the past 5 years, we have published between one and three press releases every week.  Our articles are well researched solutions to current national problems in Barbados.  If you are not receiving our press releases, then please send us your e-mail address and/or WhatsApp number, and we will add you to our growing distribution list.

To the press, we are simply asking for fair coverage. 

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

What Happens if we replace our Governor General with a President?

Our early politicians who lived through World War 2, appeared to recognise two important things about politicians. The first is that they crave unrestrained power, which tends to oppress citizens. The second is that they crave a politicised public service, which is the first sign of a nation’s decline.

In 1966, the DLP under Errol Barrow drafted our Constitution. That did so in a manner that protected Barbadians from the cravings of their elected representatives. It was passed in the house and senate before we became independent.

To prevent their successors from politicising our public services, the DLP administration gave the constitutional authority to hire, fire and discipline public workers, to our Governor General. Our politicians would later find creative ways to frustrate the Governor General from performing this critical task.

GOVERNOR GENERAL’S MAIN RESPONSIBILITY.

Our Governor General has one main responsibility. That is, to protect Barbadians from the power cravings of our elected politicians. Our politicians tell us how much they care, to get our vote. Then they seem unable to restrain themselves from oppressing us.

The Governor General allows our politicians to oppress us to a limit, but no further. She has recently allowed our politicians to do the following, without intervening.

1. Politicise our public service.

2. Send home thousands of public workers, and replace them with political supporters.

3. Corrupt the procurement process with corrupting no-bid contracts.

4. Mismanage Government services.

5. Confiscate part of our pensions and retirement savings.

6. Change the laws of Barbados to make theft and other abominations legal.

7. Default on our foreign loans.

8. Subject us to a punishing IMF austerity program.

9. Impose excessively high taxes.

The Governor General allows us to experience the bearable terrible consequences of our voting choices. If we are unhappy with their oppression, then we get to vote them out after five years.

SO FAR, AND NO FURTHER.

Our politicians know that there is a limit to the harm that they can do to us. Some appreciate that restraint, as they go as close to the permitted boundary as possible. However, others hate that restraint. History has many examples of political leaders, who found pleasure in oppressing others.

Leaders who hate restraint and accountability normally use activists. The activists’ singular role is to convince an uninformed public, that removing the only thing restraining politicians from causing them irreparable harm, is in their best interests. It is a politically abused people, that would remove their only protection against unbearable oppression.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, and the President of Solutions Barbados offering to represent St George North. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

The Queen

When we were a colony, we had no national anthem.  We sang the British national anthem, and bowed before the Queen and her representatives.  When we became independent in 1966, we sang our own national anthem, and bowed to only God.

The Queen manages our international insurance policy.  This policy is activated only if we elect a despot who starts to harm us, or if we are invaded by a foreign power.  To avoid our politicians crying ‘wolf’ over minor issues, the Queen has a representative in Barbados, to decide when to activate this policy.

THE ACTIVISTS.

Grenada has similar international insurance.  When activists took over the government of Grenada in 1979, and managed the country for about 4 years, the Governor General did not intervene.  But when they killed 19 Grenadians on 19 October 1983, the Governor General activated the policy.  Help arrived in less than one week.

When politicians and their activists start oppressing an uninsured public, no one is under any obligation to help them.  Today, there are many uninsured people suffering under despots, and desperate for help.  Unless a country thinks that it is their national interest to help, they tend not to.

The United Nations Security Council may draft a useless resolution, asking the despot to stop the killings.  But they rarely stop, so the people continue to hope in vain.  That is the world in which we live.

In the Republic of Rwanda in 1994, CARICOM, Europe, Asia, America, and the United Nations just watched, as approximately 80,000 Rwandans were mercilessly tortured and murdered every day, for 100 days.  After 800,000 of them had been killed, everyone simply said ‘sorry’.  Such is the lot of the uninsured.

THE YOUTH.

Our activists are starting to target our youth, who are too inexperienced to appreciate the value of international insurance.  They are being deceived that such insurance is colonial oppression and a waste of money.  They do not understand that we have the privilege of owning the most valuable insurance policy on this planet, for which we pay a pittance.

It seems that Solutions Barbados stands alone in trying to pull Barbados back from the brink of insanity.  We would be certifiably lunatic to give up our international insurance, just to please our politicians and activists – against whom we are insured.

[Note:  We write about 3 press releases each week.  If you are not getting them, then please send us your e-mail and/or WhatsApp number, and we will include you on our distribution list.]

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, and the President of Solutions Barbados offering to represent St George North.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

St George North Manifesto

Dear People of St George North.

My name is Grenville Phillips II. I am the President of Solutions Barbados, and your candidate in this by-election. Let me first tell you about myself, and then about what we plan to do in St George North over the next two and one-half years.

About Me.

I have qualified in several disciplines. I am a structural engineer, highway engineer, environmental engineer, land-use planner, and adjudicator. I am also a teacher and President of Walbrent College, which is a regional institution specialising in construction. Therefore, my Clients benefit from a range of different disciplines for the same fee.

I hold two Bachelors degrees (maths and engineering), two Masters degrees (environmental engineering and planning), and am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Engineering. I do this for only one reason – to provide a better service to my Clients.

If you elect me to represent you for the next two and one-half years, then you become my Clients, and I will work for you.

About Our Plans.

With only one seat in Parliament, I will not have a Ministry. Therefore, we can dedicate most of our time improving the lives of those in this constituency.

Building Houses.

I have 30 years of experience in the construction industry. We plan to set-up a non-profit construction company, to participate in the government’s 1,000 affordable houses initiative.

We will train all unemployed St George North residents, who want to learn to safely construct a house. Training will take two weeks, at no cost to St George North residents. We will then employ them in the non-profit company, to apprentice with senior artisans. If the government’s 1,000 houses initiative does not happen, then we will build affordable houses for any client in Barbados.

Strengthening Houses.

The roofs of most houses in St George North are vulnerable to blowing off during a hurricane. We will offer to economically strengthen the roofs of all houses in St George North, for the cost of the labour and materials, but no profit.

Those who want their roof strengthened for only the cost of the materials, can volunteer their time with the no-profit company one day each week, for seven weeks. They will help to strengthen the roofs of other houses in St George North.

Dilapidated and Abandoned Houses.

We plan to identify the owners of all dilapidated and unoccupied houses in St George North. We will then negotiate with the owners an arrangement, where we will economically repair the house, and get it rented. The rent will be split between the homeowner and the non-profit company, until the construction cost is repaid.

Road Maintenance.

Potholes can lead to costly vehicle repairs and accidents. Therefore, we will organise a dedicated St George North road maintenance crew, staffed by St George North residents, to safely and permanently repair potholes. A volunteer force of 350 people, allows each person to work for only one day each year.

Energy Generation.

We will offer to install a Photovoltaic (PV) system on every roof in St George North at cost, with no profit. It would be connected to the BL&P grid, so that home-owners will have more disposable income.

Those who want the PV systems installed at only the cost of the materials, can volunteer their time with the no-profit company one day each week, for seven weeks. They will help to install PV systems on other houses in St George North.

Tree Planting.

To address monkeys and other crop thefts, and provide some food security for St George North residents, we will participate in the Government’s tree planting scheme. We will plant thousands of fruit trees near drainage courses, open spaces, and wooded areas across the constituency.

Construction Disputes.

Disputes between homeowners and contractors are common. As an Adjudicator, I plan to listen to both sides, and give preliminary rulings on construction disputes. This service will be free of cost to residents of, and disputes within St George North.

Any party may have the matter finally settled by the court. But the preliminary ruling should let them know the likely outcome, and prompt them to settle before starting a long and costly court process.

Finishing School.

Regardless of how well or poorly students did at secondary school, we will train all willing St George North secondary school graduates (in six weeks) to be employable, and/or ready to start their own business. Training will be at no cost to St George North residents.

Participants will learn to speak, write, listen, calculate, draw, and do tasks at an excellent level. We will teach them to become responsible adults, and model employees, and employers.

Wealth Creation.

I am the 2014 winner of the National Innovation Competition. We will train people how to start and grow a profitable business, with no start-up money. The 8-week training will be at no cost to St George North residents.

The aim is for each willing participant to have a viable Internet based business, by the end of the workshop. This should provide each household with a separate income stream.

Advocacy.

In the House of Assembly, we will advocate for the following:

1. A referendum, to measure the public’s support for a Republic, same-sex unions, and moving the statue of Nelson.

2. An end to the corrupting no-bid public contracts, where the public must pay up to five times the cost of products, through increased taxes.

3. Better managed public services to an international standard, where customer feedback is valued, instead of the current ‘like it or lump it’ management method.

4. A rearranged secondary school curriculum, so that graduates leave school with marketable skills, and the confidence to succeed in life.

5. An improved justice system, where victims are properly compensated.

6. The removal of all taxes on healthy foods.

7. The abolition of taxing land, for which our enslaved fore-parents already paid for with their lives’ work. The Government can find something else to tax, but not our land.

We also plan to critically examine all proposed legislation, to ensure that it is in the best interest of the Barbadian public. That should keep us sufficiently busy for the next 30 months.

The BLP won all 30 seats in 2018. This by-election is an opportunity to do at least two things. Namely, to keep the BLP accountable, and to meaningfully benefit the residents of St George North.

You are in an enviable position, where you have nothing to lose by voting for Solutions Barbados – and everything to gain.

Yours respectfully,

Grenville Phillips II

Structural Engineer. Solutions Barbados Candidate for St George North.

[Note: We write several press releases each week. If you send us your e-mail address or WhatsApp number (to E-mail: NextParty246@gmail.com), we will include you on our distribution list for our plans for St George North.]